Saturday, July 14, 2018

Plan 9 from Outer Space (Audio Commentary)


Film Year:  1959
Genre:  Science Fiction, Horror
Director:  Edward D. Wood Jr.
Starring:  Bela Lugosi (kinda), Tor Johnson, Vampira, Gregory Walcott, Lyle Talbot, and Criswell
Commentator:  Michael J. Nelson

The Movie

Sigh.  It's Plan 9 from Outer Space.  Pardon me if I come off as unenthusiastic, but as someone who writes a blog that in a way celebrates the neglected and unknown films of cinema, I'm faced with discussing one of the most exposed, discussed, and celebrated bad movies ever made.  Do I have anything to add to the discussion?  Not really.  To know what makes Plan 9 a bad movie is to watch it.  Everything that is poor about it is apparent on the screen and even a four-year-old could plainly see that there just is something not that good about this movie.

Plan 9 is noted filmmaker Ed Wood's magnum opus.  A cautionary tale about the dangers of spray-painted paper plates and stock footage of Bela Lugosi.  Aliens from outer space invade and reanimate the corpses of the recently deceased in an attempt to take over the world.  However rather than doing anything nefarious, they just kind of hang around a cemetery and wait for people to come to him.

Regardless of whether or not I have much to say about Plan 9, I cannot stress enough how much I love the movie.  It really is one of the finest bad movies ever made, where so many things go wrong that something went gloriously right.  It's very much a "Springtime for Hitler" scenario.  How many other films can make that claim?  Birdemic?  The Room?  As much as I love both, there is a certain special feeling that I get when watching Plan 9 that I personally don't feel when watching those.

Of course the naive film fan states it's easily the worst film ever made, bar none.  People who follow these various riffing projects snicker at the very thought of that.  However I guarantee that if Plan 9 were indeed the worst movie ever made the world of film would have been a much sweeter place.


The Commentary

I've never been a fan of the Rifftrax versions of Plan 9, as I don't even believe the Live show is really all that great.  I always thought it was weird that they didn't hit a home run with this movie because I recall enjoying the initial solo commentary of this film quite a bit.  Or perhaps I just overrated it in my head because I've always enjoyed this movie so damn much.

Revisiting this commentary all these years later, I recognize a lot of the same jokes of the later versions of this riff, yet for some reason I'm laughing more.  It's a strange sensation.  Maybe I think Mike is delivering them better here than in later versions, but I think another possibility is that I just have lower expectations for a solo riff over a group one.

But I can safely say that there are certain things I appreciate more in this riff over the others.  I do like that Mike doesn't over rely on the "Cover Nipples!" gag during the alien salute.  He says it once or twice, but he doesn't beat a dead horse like other riffs of this film.  Mike has a fairly appropriate energy to take this film on by himself, and the effort is like watching this lovable movie with a friend.

To be frank, this is just a much more pleasurable experience than other riffs of this film, and I don't think it's because it's "superior."  It's one of Mike's better commentaries, and it's just an overall fun experience.  Mileage may vary though.


The DVD and Blu-Ray

Legend Films featured this commentary on their colorization line.  It's also one of the few times they've released one of these films on blu-ray in addition to DVD.  The film is offered in both black and white and color versions (the commentary works on both), featuring mostly fine video with occasional scratches and video flaws, while audio was solid.  The colorization is actually one of Legend's best.  Skin tones look natural and setting looks quite good.  They also have quite a bit of fun here and there, adding to the goofy charm of the film.  The ghouls are given whiter tones than the living, while there is also a point in which one of the aliens turns green.

Special features feature fake deleted scenes which end on a gag, as well as Mike humorously explaining what Plans 1-8 were (my favorite is Plan 3).  There are also some real bonus materials, including four commercials directed by Ed Wood, two minutes of Ed Wood's home movies, and the option to watch the film with a trivia subtitle track.  There are also colorized trailers for more Legend releases, including Plan 9 from Outer Space, House on Haunted Hill, Carnival of Souls, Night of the Living Dead, Reefer Madness, and The Three Stooges in Color.

At Your Fingertips: Cylinders (Rifftrax Shorts)


Rifftrax Year:  2014
Riffers:  Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett

The At Your Fingertips gang is back and this time showcasing what you can do with those long and thick shafts...and I'm just going to stop myself right there.

This latest arts and crafts short is devoted to many things you can make with cylindrical objects.  From pipes to...longer pipes...to...robot men that double as kites I guess.  The possibilities are endless.  Still the kids in these shorts are more creative than I am, so kudos to them.

Originally riffed in the Manos Live Show, like most studio riffs it's fairly weak compared to the live version.  Things that were funny there are still funny, though there is less of a room energy feeding our riffers.

Ultimately Cylinders is a fairly basic At Your Fingertips offering.  I can't shake this feeling of having seen one and having seen them all.  The riffs are fairly basic, mocking the rudimentary arts and crafts, questioning the simplicity, and finding some of the creations a little creepy.  Cylinders for the most part offers a bit less than other At Your Fingertips offerings in this regard, which might make it a weak offering.

It's still funny stuff though.  They do have some great shots at the narrator, which they have getting locked out of the room and the class moving on from cylinders to other shapes as he screams "YOU'RE NOT READY!"  Laughs are solid, though not quite plentiful.

Thumbs Up
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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cloverfield (Rifftrax)


Film Year:  2008
Genre:  Science Fiction, Horror
Director:  Matt Reeves
Starring:  T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Oddett (Annable) Yustman, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, Mike Vogel, or, as the movie refers to them all repeatedly, just "Dude"
Rifftrax Year:  2008
Riffers:  Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett

The Movie

I think we all have one of those movies that we just don't like, and when you say "Honestly I didn't like it" there's always a group of people who scoff at you and refer to you as a mental midget who "Doesn't get it."  I have a few of those, but while Cloverfield might not top that list it's very much in the top ten somewhere.

Very much a post-9/11 movie, Cloverfield takes the tried-and-true idea of a giant monster attacking a city and tries to tell it from a civilian perspective.  These are people who don't know what's going on, they are not in any sort of political position to listen to "theories" or "origins" or the like, and are just trying to survive.  It's a story about those people who you see running away in those quick shots in a Godzilla movie.  This is a really good idea for a movie.  So much so that it deserves a movie that sucks far less than Cloverfield does.

This movie has so many issues that deflate it's concept.  For a film that's trying to be innovative with it's perspective, it's plotline is surprisingly trite.  The film becomes a story of two would-be-lovers separated across the city trying to reunite, trying to dodge a giant monster along the way.  This wouldn't be entirely bothersome if they felt three-dimensional in the slightest.  Instead they are projecting worn out tropes that shows on the CW have driven into the ground, and when your leads are lacking in being interesting in the slightest then presenting your film as a character drama becomes a problem (poor characterization in a character driven narrative is actually a common problem I have with Matt Reeves' directorial work in general).

Extending beyond that, the supporting characters who follow them around are obnoxious and not that bright.  The cameraman we're stuck with throughout most of the movie, Hud (played by a young T.J. Miller), never shuts up, belly flops some weak comic relief, and does some of the stupidest things I've ever seen in a movie.  Granted, a film in "found footage" style needs to keep the camera rolling, but there also needs to be a reasonable excuse.  [REC] had a reasonable excuse, as did Paranormal Activity.  While it was stretching credibility at times, The Blair Witch Project seemed to also have more of a motivation behind it.  Cloverfield's excuse for keeping the camera rolling is that Hud's an idiot.

While on the subject of camerawork, the film often defeats the purpose of its format by framing itself way too well.  The camera often laboriously drops in the exact spot it needs to to get everything on film and look stylized doing so.  The found footage subgenre does not benefit from auteur cinematography.  At most times I can't the realism the film is trying to portray seriously because it's portraying it is such a plastic, shiny, and phony manner.

Cloverfield is about as simple as a movie comes, but it really needed to scale itself back and be simpler.  Cinematography needed to be rougher, weak character development needed to not be breezed through in chatterbox opening dialogue, and it overall needs to feel more genuine.  I might have responded to this film far more had it just simply been the story of a group of friends trying to escape the city but unfortunately become thwarted at every turn by the monster, and without need for a hackneyed love story pretending to be the heart of the screenplay.  When Cloverfield embraces the idea of just portraying confused citizens, it can be quite strong, but then it just does something stupid in trying to shoot for more and my attention drifts.

Cloverfield isn't the worst movie ever made, but it's far more mediocre than most give it credit for.  As a monster movie fan I want to like this movie (though I take one look at that hilariously bad monster design and just shudder).  I like parts of it, and other portions piss me off.  The film did eventually spawn a franchise, which oddly enough are two anthology sequels almost a decade later that initially had nothing to do with the film but were reworked in post-production to have connections to it.  The first, 10 Cloverfield Lane, is a solid thriller that deserved better than a half-assed retitle to tie-in to this movie.  The second, The Cloverfield Paradox, is just terrible, a film that is so bad I almost look back on the first with fondness in retrospect.  To an extent the release of that film was a godsend, because it proved to myself that I never really thought this first one was a bad movie, just a frustrating one that didn't know what the idea it had was.  And now it's a franchise that doesn't seem to have an idea at all.



The Trax

Probably the first thing one will notice is that this is one of the trickier syncs Rifftrax has ever attempted.  If one doesn't time the opening logo sync well then you're given fast, low, mumbled dialogue as sync points for a good long while.  Helpful tips to improve your sync experience:  1.  Watch this movie beforehand.  Following the film's dialogue is almost impossible when one is listening to the Rifftrax as well, so it helps to be a little familiar with it.  2.  Even after watching the film prior, I suggest subtitles for the first five minutes or so to help with the sync.

But once you're synced and ready to rock 'n' roll, Cloverfield is well worth your patience.  It's definitely one of the funniest of Rifftrax's entire library.  The film is a heavily flawed movie that has most of its flaws overlooked, whereas the riff rips them wide open...

"No matter what happens keeping the camera going takes precedence over our safety!"

The stupidity of the film comes under fire at every turn, and there is plenty of pleasant, gleeful mockery at it.  Of course, the use of a camcorder is the highlight, though there is plenty of jabs at the poor character drama and a lot of riding on the obnoxious character of Hud.  The annoying character tropes are played up, which is beautiful.  The great thing about wKihat they're mocking with these characters is that everything they emphasize about these characters is actually perfectly established in the movie, whether the movie realizes it or not, and they're just underlining it.

But even when the film isn't being roasted Cloverfield manages to shine as a riff.  There are just some fun riffs inspired by the imagery that just give you belly laughs for days.  There is a great riff on the iconic scene of the head of the Statue of Liberty being dropped the sky, which Mike commentates on like a sports announcer watching baseball.  Little moments like this help the riff sing, because despite the movie's worst tendencies they're never angry at it.  They're having fun with it.  And so am I.  Congratulations Rifftrax, you've made Cloverfield fun.  And you've managed to sum up the entire film in one of my favorite riffs...

"Oh wow!  It seems so real because it's shot so poorly!"

Classic

Katy (Rifftrax Shorts)


Rifftrax Year:  2017
Riffers:  Bridget Nelson, Mary Jo Pehl

What?  Women delivering papers?  What's next?  Them wearing pants and voting and being seen in public?

Katy is a short film about a girl named Janet...oh wait, her name was Katy.  Sorry, but you can forgive the confusion.  Katy's brother is leaving town for a while and is unable to deliver his paper route so he enlists her to do it for him.  Upon entering the building to take the route over she is treated with scorn by her male peers, mocked by her boss, but she takes the papers and gets the job done.  This happens repeatedly until the day she asks for a route of her own and asks for jobs for her other female friends.  But hiring womenz is a no-can-do!

I think Mary Jo perfectly sums up this short in the opening ten seconds...

"Every generation a short film with a worthwhile message is poorly produced by a well-meaning graduate.  We have reason to believe this is one of those films"

Feminism and sexism in the 70's was a hot topic, and Katy clearly wants to be an eye-opening short on the subject.  I see the idea here, which portrays pre-teen girls discovering how hard it could be for them in the work force as they grow up.  The message comes off a bit underwhelming because of the haphazard production.  I feel for Katy's plight, but it's not because of the efforts of the short.  There doesn't seem to be any effort in giving any sort of depth to the situation other than "I'm a girl and they don't like me."  Certainly sexism can be meaningless like that, but in conveying a message there needs to be more than a bare bones portrayal of the subject.  Katy doesn't really convince me that the people who are playing these roles are real because they're so one-dimensional.  Katy exists to look sad, and men exist to make her feel sad, and the filmmakers' melodramatics fail to make it feel emotional at all.

When the short ends it's moral seems to be "strength in numbers."  Katy gathers her friends and they march down and demand their own paper routes.  This seems to be a call to arms of some sort, demanding women to march for equal rights.  I can see the echo of reality being reflected, though this short looks silly in doing it.  The symbolic "moneyshot" of the short is when Katy steals a basketball from a boy and makes a basket, symbolizing "Anything you can do, I can do," leaving the boy puzzled in her wake.  But as the symbolic gesture of the short it falls flat on its face because it really comes out of nowhere.

I can get behind Katy's message.  But as a short film it's ineffective.  Women's rights deserve's better than this hollow portrayal.

But I am a Caucasian male, so I am not allowed to judge films like these in any way, so take all of this with a grain of salt.  Bridget and Mary Jo however are women and they seem to have the same opinion of it that I do.  They laugh at how silly Katy's simplistic portrayal of sexism is, tear apart the artless direction of the piece, and play around with the low quality production values.  They get a lot of laughs from the drowned out soundtrack, of which it's hard to make out just what actors are saying half the time.  By the time the film ends they seem perplexed and frustrated by its ambiguous ending as well.

Katy is a short that wants to be important but lets itself down.  It almost feels terrible to pick on it, but it makes for a perfect Rifftrax.  Bridget and Mary Jo bring humor to the plight of women everywhere, and they are the perfect women for the job!  In essence they make a better argument for female equality for the short because they demonstrate once again that they're the best employees with the most consistent output in the Rifftrax company.

That's it, gals!  Break that glass ceiling!

Thumbs Up
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Sunday, July 8, 2018

619-Red Zone Cuba


Film Year:  1966
Genre:  Drama, Noir
Director:  Coleman Francis
Starring:  Coleman Francis, John Carradine, Anthony Cardoza, Harold Saunders
MST Season:  6
Featured Short:  "Speech:  Platform Posture and Appearance"

The Short

In this thrilling sequel to Speech:  Using Your Voice, we now learn the importance of appearance in public speaking.  Despite their title, speeches aren't just about words but rather selling what you're saying by looking as confident as possible.  After all, the world works best when you judge a book by its cover.

The advice here is sound, though it could be a bit more thorough when it comes to body language.  This short mostly just tells us to dress well and stand up straight, but there are more things one can do to look more comfortable while telling a speech.

And no, one of them is not to put your hands on your knees and wiggle around.  I have no clue what THAT'S about.



The Movie

Initially titled Night Train to Mundo Fine, Red Zone Cuba still features a theme song by this very name at the beginning of the film.  And it's sung by John Carradine.  I'm going to let that sink in for a moment.

The answer is yes, it sounds exactly like you're picturing in your head.

Red Zone Cuba is the third and final film (second featured on the show) by Mystery Science Theater's favorite auteur Coleman Francis.  In many ways you can tell Francis is attempting something far grander and more meaningful than his other films, it's just exploding in his face.  I really dislike shitting on someone's passion project, but this film is a mess.

There might be something of an interesting noir tale in Red Zone Cuba.  In it Coleman Francis, in the role of his career, plays a fugitive who teams up with a pair of ex-convicts who are hoodwinked into joining the Bay of Pigs invasion.  There they are captured by the Cubans and are forced to mount an escape back to America.  Watching this play out I can easily tell that Francis is telling a cynical tale of men leading a violent life.  Red Zone Cuba wants to be a compelling look at violent men looking for peace and only finding more violence.  But just because Red Zone Cuba wants to be this doesn't mean it succeeds.

If one were to judge the film on its technical details alone it would be enough to send it down the toilet.  The low budget is apparent with the lack of locations, where both Cuba and America look the same.  Night scenes and stormy weather are both portrayed in the middle of broad daylight.  The editing is a disaster of random shots being flung in the middle of other random shots.

This is all things we noticed surface level.  When you get into the story you find you just don't like it on a personal level.  Coleman Francis's character, while I highly doubt he was supposed to be likable at all, just is not a pleasurable protagonist.  He scoffs at death, rapes women, and guns people down on a whim.  He's supposed to be a bad human being, but he's a disgusting one to spend time with.  When we're given a character that we're designed to hate this much, and he's our LEAD, how are we supposed to react?

Red Zone Cuba is just a failure of both story and production.  It's an incoherent mess of a movie that just makes the blood boil.  Quite frankly, it's just not that good, you know?


The Episode

"Hi-CUBA!"

Red Zone Cuba is a harsh movie to bear witness to, so it's going to take something quite spectacular to make this thing watchable.  The MST episode of this movie is somewhat polarizing as I've found from experience that a lot of people love it and a lot of people hate it.  Usually the movie is front and center as to why on both sides of the argument.  My own experience with this episode has been...interesting.  The first time I watched it, I loved it.  After that experience I sat down to watch it again some time later expecting it to be a laugh riot and found an episode that was excruciating instead.  And those sort of reactions never stopped as I've been very hot and cold on this episode for as long as I can remember.

I think I've matured enough to really dissect what about this episode stems such a reaction, and like most fans it's really the movie that is the root of the cause.  Because of this angry, cynical, and incomprehensible movie at the center of the experiment Red Zone Cuba to me is a mood episode.  If I want something light and silly fun then this is not the episode to watch.  I need to mentally prepare myself for this movie and realize what I'm dealing with here, and if I find I can take it then I will laugh for days.  As such, even though I think the riffing is quite brilliant in this episode, this is not one I watch often.

The poorly made film has plenty to take note on for the boys.  They notice early and often that Coleman Francis's ambitious attempt at setting mood often leads to inconsistencies:  Thunder is heard often in the background, though there is never a cloud in the sky; night scenes are set in broad daylight, ect.  This being Francis's big starring role in his filmography means he's up front and center and ready to be heckled, and the boys make no short work at pointing out he looks like an angrier, gruff version of Three Stooges alumni Curly Howard.  The shoddy production is also under fire, with some hilarious editing highlighting.

"AGH!  My neck got broke in that jump cut!"

Oh, but this one started with a short too!  Speech:  Platform Posture and Appearance (or Speech 2:  Cruise Control) is a follow-up to one they riffed during Earth vs. the Spider.  One can easily see why they've selected this short.  There are a lot of silly visuals of people with poor posture, of which they can easily comment upon.  For the most part the riffing is hilarious, and I was laughing in a constant stream.  Then the short gets to "the knee test," where one tests one posture by putting their hands on their knees and wiggling around.  I don't care if this is a proper technique, but it is just a hilarious visual.  The boys take aim and fire, and my sides were absolutely splitting.  This is an excellent short.

The host segments are a batch I never seem to remember all that well, and as I returned to this episode I didn't quite recall them at all.  There's a linking storyline here about Frank being in debt with the mob and having them beat up Dr. Forrester via mistaken identity.  This seems like it should be regulated to the opening and the closing of the episode, but these segments take up the entire episode.  We get Frank tending to Dr. Forrester while he is bed-ridden, predicting/hoping that he will die a horrible death.  It's a cute idea, but it feels like there is just too much of it.  We spend barely any time on the Satellite of Love at all, but when we do they're brief barely there gags of picking Lotto numbers and Mike pretending to be Carol Channing.  I do love the formal way the guys play Bingo though.

For my money Red Zone Cuba just might be the funniest episode of the "Coleman Francis Trilogy," yet there's something that holds me back on it.  I feel that the fact that this isn't an episode I can put on during a rainy day is a slight knock against it.  Others may disagree, but rest assured I agree with the side who thinks this is a very funny episode.

Good



The DVD

Rhino released the episode as a single disc, featuring solid audio and video.  There were no special features.  Shout Factory also released an online exclusive single disc re-release of the episode that also had no special features.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

East Meets Watts (Cinematic Titanic Live)


Film Year:  1974
Genre:  Action, Crime
Director:  Al Adamson
Starring:  Timothy Brown, Alan Tang
CT Number:  8

The Movie


"Directed by Al Adamson...a phrase that will live in infamy..."  Indeed it was, as us riffing enthusiasts found out that Adamson directed movies much stranger and more inept than this, The Oozing Skull and Carnival Magic.  East Meets Watts would have been the best?

Originally titled Dynamite Brothers upon original release, East Meets Watts is a rather labored attempt to combine two niche genres of the 1970's:  blaxsploitation and kung fu imports.  Just knowing that it's easy to assume this movie is about a cool black man teaming up with a fast moving Chinese martial arts master to fight bad guys, and this was years before the Rush Hour franchise made millions on that same premise, mind you.  And when a Brett Ratner movie does things more competently than your film then you might have to admit your film has issues.

I could probably go more in depth with the movie but it mostly seems futile.  It's stuff about searching for a missing brother, fighting a drug ring, and sleeping with mute girls.  The movie mostly rides very hard on the idea that those who watch these sort of genres will most likely see them regardless of quality.  There's little effort to tell a story here, but rather to look hip pretending you have a story.  There are fist bumps, high kicks, and a lot of racial slurs (including that little known "N" word).

What can I really say about it?  It's not very good.  It's poorly shot, features stilted acting, and even the action doesn't really have much pizzazz behind it, and I enjoy kung fu movies.  Blaxploitation I don't enjoy quite as much, though I have to believe there are far better movies in that genre than East Meets Watts.  If there weren't then the genre probably wouldn't have existed in the first place.  East Meets Watts is more like the toilet paper of two genres that weren't really respected all that much in the first place.



The Riff

East Meets Watts was Cinematic Titanic's first filmed live show, after retiring its series of studio productions.  They had been putting on live shows for quite some time mind you, but they had deduced that making the live format their primary focus owould have made their efforts stand out compared to MST and Rifftrax.  Neveryoumind that both had done live shows themselves and Rifftrax offered them on DVD as well.  I personally preferred the studio releases (or at least I felt the riff scripts on the first seven were stronger than the ones for the live show releases), but I didn't mind live shows in general.  I think my strongest issue against CT's live shows were that I already had Rifftrax's live shows as a comparison and there seemed to be more to them.  We were given skits and shorts and just more of an effort in general to make it a whole event.  Cinematic Titanic's live shows were just the movie, in and out, with no side dishes.  Now the impression I get is that when they were performed lived there were opening acts and even points where the Titans got on stage to warm up the crowd, but alas none of that is on the DVD.  We get a movie with the benefit of live laughter, and the fun host segments are tossed out.  While live interaction is fun, I never saw this as a step up because it was so bare minimum.

"Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your street name!  And the honkeys are all to blame!"

But moving on to the riff itself, East Meets Watts gives us two genres we've never really seen a lot of in any riffing project.  Blaxploitation in general might prove to be something of a thin line to tread given how racially charged those films in general are.  Kung fu on the other hand is a genre I've always been surprised hasn't been featured more in shows like this, what with bad dubbing, poor stories, and wild, expressive action at the center of each one.  There's so much untapped potential there.

As such, East Meets Watts seems like a tale of two different riffs.  The riffing on the parts that lean on blaxploitation tend to be very cautious, sometimes pushing ahead to a big laugh but always calculated on when the right time is.  Mary Jo seems to be pressed a few too many of the edgier lines here, for when the audience reacts with an "oooooh" instead of laughter Frank gets mock angry at her, yelling "MARY JO!" prompting audience applause instead.  It's an interesting back door out of riskier jokes.

When the movie goes full kung fu the Titans cut loose and give it everything they've got.  The first two acts of this riff are amusing though rarely something special, then our riffers charge forth into the action packed finale and leave us grinning from ear to ear as the entire show ends.  It's somewhat manipulative to pack so much funny material in the final twenty minutes, almost tricking the audience into thinking the entire show was like that (it's my theory as to why MST's Godzilla vs. Megalon is so popular), but I have to judge the experience as a whole.  East Meets Watts is solid and the best jokes are worth watching it for, but the riff as a whole is good but not great.

Good



The DVD

Like most of Cinematic Titanic's output, East Meets Watts was originally released on DVD through their original website of cinematictitanic.com.  Video and audio were good, there were no special features.  Shout Factory later released the show on their Complete Collection set, where it shared a disc with the proceeding non-live show Blood of the Vampires.

Buying Food (Rifftrax Shorts)


Rifftrax Year:  2008
Riffers:  Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett

This short film is in particularly rough shape, with a lot of picture dust and an off-center frame.  If I were to come across it in a grocery store I'd probably pass it up for being of a lesser grade.  This short taught me how to do so.

Buying food isn't as simple as mom makes it look.  You can't just get in there and buy everything in sight.  You need to practice restraint and purchase only what you need in the immediate future.  This short shows off the terrors of impulse buying and how to prevent food waste and spending too much money.  There are also lessons on picking out what type of food is best for you and your family, though my family just tossed whatever in front of my face and said "Eat it or starve, dickhead."

I imagine this short was made for home-ec classes of years passed, as these were lessons that were taught to us in high school.  What's taught in this film didn't change much between the fifty years since this short was created and my educational failure, so it's still relevant in a way.  If I were to criticize anything about it it's that when it asks us to identify the difference between Grade-A stock and Grade-C stock through visuals, which is absurd in a black-and-white instructional short (as the riff points out "Grayer doesn't always mean better").

One gets the feeling that Mike, Kevin, and Bill think this short is a tad rudimentary.  They almost seem to think it's hilarious that they're riffing on a short about buying food in of itself.  As the short gets more in-depth about impulse buying our boys have fun mocking the stupidity of the subjects, and the indecisiveness of latter lessons in product discerning.  While they come off a bit condescending in this short, the results are fairly funny.  Sometimes gags are simple and obvious, but they get results.

Thumbs Up
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